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Promoting innovation, sustainability and inclusion on the high seas


(BPT) - Defying the oceans on a 12 meter sailboat — while reaching speeds of 17 knots — to cross the finish line first, showing resilience, courage and great strategic skills: this is Sailing into the Future. Together, the challenge launched by IBSA, the Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company, which chose sailing to tell a great story of sport and sustainability.

In March 2022, IBSA launched an ambitious project: providing talented Italian sailor Alberto Bona with all the tools to promote sharing and inclusion through the thrilling sport of sailing.

After over two years and seven regattas, the Class40 IBSA arrives in the United States to finish the Transat CIC — one of the most difficult crossings of the Atlantic Ocean. Starting on April 28 from Lorient, one of the most famous French ports in ocean sailing, the regatta includes 48 solo sailors navigating to New York, along a challenging and dangerous route, due to the presence of icebergs, fog, currents and very strong winds.

This year marks Alberto’s third season aboard the Class40 IBSA. Bona was the winner of the Class40 International Championship, ranking as the first-place skipper based on his finishes in 2023. He is one of the two favorites among the 13 participants in the Class40 category and is ready to take on the challenge.

Earlier this year, the Class40 IBSA was completely overhauled in a French shipyard. The hull underwent several adjustments to prepare the boat to face the grueling North Atlantic crossing, a completely different experience from previous regattas which ended in the Caribbean, a destination much easier to reach and safer to navigate than the northwestern coast of the United States.

“It’s as if we had been preparing for this regatta for two whole years,” said Bona. “Each challenge has its own unique ingredients, but the Transat CIC contains them all: when sailing solo, I will face complex weather conditions; the boat will often have to navigate at risky and difficult speeds. I will have to manage my opponents, the icebergs, the fog and the currents; in short, the perfect regatta in terms of difficulty and exciting like no other. A regatta in which, as in all my endeavors, I will feel all the IBSA people at my side: indeed, they will follow me through the tracking system and encourage me with their messages.”

With this multi-year project, sailing becomes an effective means of reaching a wide audience with important messages about sustainability and inclusion. As part of Sailing into the Future. Together IBSA has undertaken an international project to support inclusive sailing — through the donation of several Hansa 303 boats suitable for people with disabilities — and established partnerships with Swiss, French, Italian and Spanish nautical clubs to support inclusive sailing initiatives, in order to involve people with physical and cognitive disabilities in experiences in close contact with the sea.

“We are proud that, after two years of success in Europe, the Sailing into the Future. Together is coming to the United States,” stated Nick Hart, CEO IBSA USA. “This project is a significant undertaking, which sees us competing in some of the world’s most prestigious and challenging regattas. It also provides an opportunity to highlight IBSA’s values and increase our global visibility as a company with an eye to the future and a commitment to sustainability.”

Educating people on respect for others and promoting a real inclusion of diversity by fighting prejudice and discrimination are the objectives that IBSA aims to achieve through the project Sailing into the Future. Together.

To learn more about the program and follow the Class40 IBSA's journey, visit the project website.

Photo: Courtesy IBSA | Beppe Raso